Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra answered questions from Facebook, Twitter and the White House website about all things technology, information, and transparency. He also announced a new Web site designed to track more than $70 billion in government information technology spending, showing all contracts held by major firms within every agency.
The site, USAspending.gov, lets you embed the charts in your own blog or post them to Twitter, Facebook, or Delicious. Next week it will launch a blog where ordinary citizens can comment. Tim O'Reilly termed this radical transparency. He said, "The dashboards are an incredibly ambitious undertaking. In the first place, there has never been a government-wide view like this of all IT spending, and the progress of projects. What's even more remarkable, though, is that the dashboards are being shared with the public. It's a bit like having your performance review posted on the company bulletin board for all to see."
I was very impressed by the quality of the audio and video of this event with Kundra and Macon Phillips (much more so than the Obama Helathcare Town Hall on Facebook today - but more on that later). It was also really neat to watch them respond to my questions in real time. If you watch the video carefully about 8:20 in, you will see the question from Brian 'n Joan (a two fer :-) which is the Facebook page I share with my wife at http://www.facebook.com/ahier. I am very pleased at the efforts at transparency, and particluarly impressed the the Whitehouse has already published all the salaries of their staff.
These beginning signs of Gov 2.0 are encouraging and I hope that we will see continuing efforts in this direction.